According to a story from the Huffington Post, a recent Instagram post from the Barbie brand of dolls indicates that the company is beginning to expand its line of dolls to include figures that include a wheelchair and dolls with a prosthetic limb. For 37 year old Jessica Jewett, a Georgia based author and artist with arthryogryposis multiplex congenita, the news was positively delightful. Her condition also confines her to a wheelchair.
About Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita
Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), sometimes known as just arthryogryposis, is a genetic condition of joint contracture that appears in at least two different parts of the body. People with the condition have abnormal muscle tissue fibrosis (scarring) the shortens that muscle and prevents normal extension of the affected joints. There are a number of possible causes of arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, such as complications during pregnancy, developmental disorders, and neurological abnormalities. Anything that prevents normal movement of joints prior to birth can lead to arthrogryposis. In many cases, every joint in the patient’s body may be affected. The condition often appears alongside other diseases or disorders. Although it is not really possible to completely cure the condition, arthrogryposis is not a progressive illness and there are number of approaches, such as surgery, passive enhancement, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, that can improve a patient’s range of movement and overall mobility. To learn more about arthrogryposis, click here.
“It just took me back to being 5, 6, 7 years old, asking my mom and grandma why there aren’t dolls that look like me.” – Jessica Jewett
It is clear that the inclusion of a doll with a wheelchair in the Barbie line up means a lot to people like Jessica, who grew up playing with the dolls as kids with a disability, as well as kids today who have fallen in love with them and are disabled.
A Barbie doll with a wheelchair may seem like a trivial thing to be excited about; after all, it isn’t a miracle cure or a new drug that is going to save people’s lives. But the reality is that representation is hugely impactful for the disabled, who very rarely see themselves portrayed in popular culture or media of any kind. Having a disability or a rare diagnosis can be extremely isolating but something as simple as a Barbie doll with a wheelchair can go a long way to making that feeling disappear.
Jessica says that this is the toy that she “needed” when she way younger.
If you would like to learn more about her career as an artist, click here.